In How to Get a Great Testimonial (Part 1), we addressed how to overcome the initial hurdles of getting great testimonials.  By now you should be past the fear of, or forgetting to, ask for raving reviews of your work.

You’ve now asked for the testimonial – at the right time (when the customer is most happy with her purchase), using the right medium (email, online, phone, snail mail…) How can you ensure the reply you receive isn’t:

Thanks, Bob! You did a terrific job!

That’s not exactly a useful review for prospective customers and website visitors.

Guide Customers Through the Testimonial-Giving Process

Do your customers know what a great testimonial looks like? The best ones:

  1. Describe the customer’s problem
  2. Explain the solution provided by your product or service
  3. Tell the wonderful result of using your product or service

In short, great testimonials are short, specific stories—sometimes only a sentence or two. Here are a couple of examples.

Overcoming Fear of Writing a Testimonial

Let’s face it: Some folks don’t write testimonials because they’re afraid their writing skills aren’t up to snuff. They may be wildly enthusiastic about what your product did for them. But if they’re embarrassed to write something, they won’t.

Make it easy for them by conveying that you’re looking for them to “say it in your own words.” No fancy wordsmithing required! Just provide a few cues to inspire their words to tumble onto the page (or the keyboard) naturally. Ask:

  1. What was your biggest concern about hiring me? Did that fear come true? If not, what happened instead?
  2. Specifically, what was your favorite part of _____, and why?
  3. If you were to recommend me to your best friend, what would you say?

That’s not so intimidating, right?

Fine Tuning Your Testimonial Targeting

If you’re after more succinct testimonials from clients, offer them an array of suggestions to get their own creative juices flowing. You may suggest they only address 3 to 5 of these to answer:

  1. What was your problem before you purchased my product/service?
  2. What hesitations did you have about buying from me?
  3. What results did you get from my product/service?
  4. What specific feature did you like most about what I offered?
  5. What are three other benefits you liked most about my product/service?
  6. Would you recommend me? If so, why?
  7. Anything else you’d like to add?

It’s the specifics that make the best testimonials. Customers who mention their appreciation of your “reliability” or “compassion,” which results in the customers’ feelings of “relief” or “reduced stress,” may be just the key words that resonate with a new prospect.

Next up: The technical hurdles! Do you send a self-addressed stamped envelope for customers to mail you their testimonial? Or is an online submission form more appropriate for collecting testimonials for your business? Part 3 will examine various methods of collection and displaying your reviews.